March 1, 2002 Leave a Comment
(2001) dir. Wes Anderson
viewed: Metreon, SF
I enjoyed The Royal Tennenbaums, though in retrospect, it was a little “precious.”
Rushmore, I thought was pretty brilliant. So, I anticipated that Tennenbaums would be quite good, too.
And it certainly is a film cut from a similar cloth. The narrative presentation and pacing ring a similar bell, while the characters are clearly the same sort of imperfect geniuses that amuse and create in this fantastic, Salinger-esque universe of Anderson’s. Gwynneth Paltrow’s character has the same sort of knack for impressive theatrical adaptation at a tender age as the lead character in the earlier film.
The film has a great visual style, at times, striking and slick, while at others it looks like a student film. It’s mise en scene bears a strong influence on its personality.
The narrative follows an entire extended family and is, in that sense, a classic ensemble picture, revolving around Gene Hackman’s lead as the “Royal Tennenbaum” himself. And the cast is good: Ben Stiller, Angelica Huston, Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, all put in good performances. The characters feel developed in that they all have elaborate “back stories” that we are told, often in detail, but they are so “presented” to us that there is almost a feeling of detachment toward them.
The film is genuinely funny at times, both situationally and visually. It’s another film that I expect that future viewings may well offer more fuller enjoyment and understanding.